The highest rated free agent still available on the market is looking for a team willing to overlook the fact that they will have to give up draft pick compensation to get him. Those teams could include the Rays, the Mets, or the Mariners.
The saga of Michael Bourn continues. The free agent outfielder still has not landed with a new team, and his options seem to be dwindling by the day. Regardless, there are still some teams that would be a logical fit for Bourn. Those teams include the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, and Seattle Mariners.
Jim Bowden of ESPN thinks those teams are the best fits for Bourn who will command a large salary and will require the loss of a draft pick by the signing team.
What teams make the most sense for Michael Bourn at this point? in my opinion: TB, NYM & Sea....and for Kyle Lohse? Box,TX,LAA,Milw,Balt— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) February 2, 2013
When Bourn declined the Atlanta Braves' qualifying, $13.3 million offer, he essentially confined himself to a smaller pool of teams that could sign him. Of course, he didn't have much choice if he felt he was worth more than $13.3 million or wanted a longer deal. Because of the CBA, any team that signs Bourn now will have to give up a draft pick to the Braves, and the only picks that are protected are 1-10.
Related: Why Bourn makes sense for the Mets.
The Rays are going to have to deal with the loss of B.J. Upton somehow, so Bourn could be a fit. However, the Rays covet their draft picks and their minor league system. If the team were to sign Bourn, they would still be losing out on the power that Upton brought, but they will gain on the speed that Bourn brings.
The Mets have been linked to Bourn and are trying to press the league to overlook the fact that the CBA says they would have to give up their 11th overall pick to get him. That is the biggest sticking point to any scenario in which Bourns signs with the Mets. They can ill-afford to lose a pick that high.
The Mariners are an interesting possibility. Had it not been for the near Justin Upton trade, the Mariners may not have been considered true contenders in the big-name free agent/trade market. However, they've proven to be willing to take on a larger than normal contract, and they've clearly made a statement about their outfield needs.
Bourn is a career .272/.339/.365 hitter. He gets on base often enough, but he will never be a power threat. Bourn's talent slid on the base paths and in the field. Bourn is one of the top outfield defenders in the league. He has two Gold Gloves and two All-Star selections in his career.